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[uh-sist] /əˈsɪst/
verb (used with object)
to give support or aid to; help:
Please assist him in moving the furniture.
to be associated with as an assistant or helper.
verb (used without object)
to give aid or help.
to be present, as at a meeting or ceremony.
  1. Baseball. a play that helps to put out a batter or base runner.
  2. Basketball, Ice Hockey. a play that helps a teammate in gaining a goal.
  3. the official credit scored for such plays.
a helpful act:
She finished her homework without an assist from her father.
Machinery. an electrical, hydraulic, or mechanical means of increasing power, efficiency, or ease of use:
a luxury automobile equipped with assists for brakes, steering, windows, and seat adjustment.
Origin of assist
1505-15; < Latin assistere to stand by, help, equivalent to as- as- + sistere to (cause to) stand (si- reduplicative prefix + -ste- (variant of sta- stand) + -re infinitive suffix)
Related forms
assister; Chiefly Law, assistor, noun
assistive, adjective
nonassister, noun
overassist, verb
reassist, verb (used with object)
unassisted, adjective
unassisting, adjective
well-assisted, adjective
1. sustain, abet, befriend; back, promote. See help.
1. hinder, frustrate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for assist
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • As a rule, he accompanies his master to all dinner-parties to assist in waiting.

    Life and sport in China Oliver G. Ready
  • The Trappist remained silent, and did not assist him at all.

    En Route J.-K. (Joris-Karl) Huysmans
  • In the midst of their terrible dilemma, kind brother John seemed as an angel sent by Heaven to assist them.

    Heart Martin Farquhar Tupper
  • The Tornado stood on till she was nearly astern of the vessel she was about to assist.

    The Three Commanders W.H.G. Kingston
  • When the seeds are small, many should be planted together, that they may assist each other in breaking the soil.

    A Treatise on Domestic Economy Catherine Esther Beecher
British Dictionary definitions for assist


to give help or support to (a person, cause, etc); aid
to work or act as an assistant or subordinate to (another)
(hockey:Ice) to help (a team-mate) to score, as by passing the puck
(archaic) (intransitive) foll by at. to be present; attend
(US & Canadian) the act of helping; aid; assistance
(baseball) the act of a player who throws or deflects a batted ball in such a way that a team is enabled to put out an opponent
  1. a pass or other action by a player which enables another player to score a goal
  2. a credit given for such an action
Derived Forms
assister, noun
Word Origin
C15: from French assister to be present, from Latin assistere to stand by, from sistere to cause to stand, from stāre to stand
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for assist

early 15c., from Middle French assister "to stand by, help, put, place, assist" (14c.), from Latin assistere "stand by, take a stand near, attend," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + sistere "take a stand, cause to stand," from PIE *siste-, reduplicated form of root *sta- "to stand" (see stet). Related: Assisted; assisting. Medical assisted suicide attested from 1884.


1570s, "an act of assistance," from assist (v.). In the sporting sense attested 1877 in baseball, 1925 in ice hockey.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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